by Annie Barrows w/ Illus. by Sophie Blackall
Chronicle Books, 2011
Hardcover,127. Juvenile Fiction, Ages 6-10.
Ivy and Bean need some money. Ten dollars, to be exact. Never mind what for. Okay, it s for low-fat Belldeloon cheese in a special just-for you serving size. Don t ask why. How are Ivy and Bean going to make ten dollars? Hey, maybe they should write a newspaper about Pancake Court and sell it Great idea And easy, too. All they have to do is snoop around the neighborhood. Wow…It s very interesting what they can find out. It s even more interesting when the neighbors read about it in the newspaper.~Publisher’s Comments
Natalya was 6 or 7 when we picked up the first Ivy+Bean book by Annie Barrows. N has since moved onto Teen shelves, but I still try to keep up on “the two friends who never meant to like each other” and their adventures. First, the books are just that delightful. Second, Sophie Blackall is one of my favorite Illustrators (as many of you know). There are a lot of fun chapter books for the 6-10 age group. If you need to narrow it down: Ivy + Bean has and continues-to-be brilliant. Check them out.
No News is Good News was an especially fun read for me. I remember my mom packing “cheese in a special just-for-you serving size” wrapped in a red wax to play with; though I doubt mine were lowfat. The trip down memory lane was fun. Ivy and Bean are also out to create a local newspaper as a fundraiser, and we are in the early stages of zine project 2.0. May it reassure neighbors and family and friends, we will not be looking in windows and record the odd observation. With FaceBook, Google-+, or Twitter, do I need to?
There are some things people do not want to share or have revealed. They certainly wouldn’t care for the exaggerations made to spice up the story. Ivy and Bean narrowly escape all-out disaster. It helps that despite their (innocent) mischief they are still little girls and that their observations were fairly mild. But when the girls remark upon their finished newspaper, The Flipping Pancake, with: “It looks so real.” (109) how can the adult reader disagree? Points are made and lessons are learned—but not in a message-y way. A marvelous aspect to the Ivy + Bean books are the deft handling of learning opportunities via the girls’ interactions and adventures. These are fun reads with creative stories and solutions.
Since you are going to get your dear 6-10 year old girl (and dear 33 year old L) the boxed sets for a gift, throw in that brand new Paper Doll Set! Shameless, I know, but I adore these books. Barrows has a fantastic sense of humor and story, and her characters are wonderful. It is yummy icing that Blackall illustrates their adventures (and their dolls!).
Annie Barrows’ Ivy + Bean site.
Chronicle Books’ Ivy + Bean site (has a page for Readers and one for Teachers because the books do inspire creativity and great conversation.)
Sophie Blackall’s site.
my review of Ivy + Bean: Book 7: What’s The Big Idea? (at the bottom of linked post)